TeenLife Blog

Supporting teen success, one post at a time

Author: Andrew Belasco

Andrew Belasco is CEO of College Transitions LLC, a team of college planning experts committed to guiding families through the college admissions process. In addition to his role as CEO, Andrew is a published higher education researcher and consultant to U.S. Congress, reporting on issues related to college admission and financial aid policy. For more information about Andrew and his team, please visit www.collegetransitions.com

Posted Aug. 29, 2019, 10 a.m. by Andrew Belasco | View Comments
Three Questions to Consider Before Applying Early Decision

Deciding whether to apply Early Decision (ED) or not to college is a huge dilemma that many high school students must face. While applying ED can increase your chances of admittance in many cases, there are some downfalls as well. 1. Can I afford to pay the bill? Early decision (ED) admission into a college means that you will be receiving only one financial aid offer, which may or may not be enough to sufficiently cover your college-related expenses. Remember, your ED college is not particularly inclined to award a generous package, given that they have already secured your commitment ...

Posted Aug. 20, 2019, 11 a.m. by Andrew Belasco | View Comments
A Parent’s Role in the College Admissions Process

A few years ago, a student at the University of Cincinnati won a restraining order against her parents for “stalking” her in college. They had installed spyware on their daughter’s phone and computer, snuck into her dorm room on multiple occasions, and regularly met with the dean of her college demanding academic updates. In an age where the media has as many terms for overly-involved parents as the Eskimos have for snow (Tiger moms, Helicopter parents, wolf dads, etc.), this anecdote, sadly, hardly comes as a surprise. Download Parents are unquestionably a critical component to a student’s college transition, but ...

Posted Jan. 29, 2019, 1:50 p.m. by Andrew Belasco | View Comments
Colleges for the “B” Student

Listening to the mainstream media, one might conclude that getting into college has never been a more competitive or harrowing venture. With the exception of a scattering of hyper-selective prestigious schools across the country, this notion could not be further from reality. In truth, today’s college marketplace greatly favors you, the buyer, more than ever before. For proof, let’s examine some basic stats. In 2012, 63% of high school graduates in the United States enrolled in 4-year undergraduate institutions; 75% from that pool report that they were accepted to their first choice college. You don’t have to be Fibonacci to ...

Posted July 25, 2016, 2 p.m. by Andrew Belasco | View Comments
5 Simple Ways to Jumpstart Your College Application This Summer

Whether your summer plans involve flipping burgers or lounging at the shore, we recommend five simple steps that won’t overly-detract from your summer but will give you a leg up in the college admissions process come the frenetically-paced autumn months that loom ahead. 1. Demonstrate interest. Carve out a few moments to show your prospective colleges some love. Trust us, with yield-rate statistics causing admissions officers many restless nights, making schools feel wanted can leave a favorable impression. Whether or not a student showed interest in the form of a campus visit, an email, or time surfing the university website ...

Posted April 14, 2015, 8 a.m. by Andrew Belasco | View Comments
So You Want to Be a Teacher

Welcome to installment three of College Transitions’ “So you want to be a...” series. Designed to help career-minded high school students think intelligently about their postsecondary journeys, these blogs will look at the financial, academic, and personal factors one should consider when exploring various professions. Does going to a prestigious undergraduate school help? Breaking into the teaching field is numerically a very different endeavor than landing a job in the highly selective worlds of law, medicine, engineering, etc. There are presently 3.7 million people making their living as primary or secondary school teachers in the United States. Almost 90% of ...

Posted April 8, 2015, 9 a.m. by Andrew Belasco | View Comments
Is College Still Worth the Investment?

We’ll save the drama—even in an era of bloated tuition costs, ballooning student loan debt, and a weakened American job market, the answer to the general question of whether a college degree is still worth the investment remains a resounding, “Yes.” Yet, this affirmative answer is saddled with a Barry Bonds-sized asterisk; not every degree from every school for every individual is actually worth the investment. A more extensive and more personalized examination is necessary to be of any useful guidance. We begin that examination, with a basic question: is today’s average college graduate still better off than an average ...

Posted March 27, 2015, 8 a.m. by Andrew Belasco | View Comments
The Gap Year: Things to Consider

Back in the 80s, parents’ worst nightmare was that their flaky Gen-X teens would defer entry into college, stating that they first needed to “find themselves.” After a year of goat herding in the Himalayas, being one with nature, and going on nightly vision quests, the best some parents could hope for is that their sons and daughters would eventually return, ready to hit the books, embrace Alex P. Keatonesque values, and eventually end up as Wall Street wolves. While absurd, this introduction offers a kernel of truth – In the absence of proper nomenclature, a desire to step off ...

Posted March 19, 2015, 9 a.m. by Andrew Belasco | View Comments
The Life-Altering Impact of Student Loan Debt

Particular adjectives frequently accompany sound bites and headlines on the topic of student loan debt—“crippling,” “burdensome,” and “overwhelming,” just to name a few. Student loan debt is a “crisis,” people are drowning in it, and it is seen as a threat to the economy at large. It is hard not to come away with an appropriate level of concern regarding student loan debt, yet, in admissions cycle after admissions cycle, swarms of college applicants continue to make decisions that set themselves up to be just as financially crippled, burdened, and overwhelmed in adulthood as the headlines forewarned. The first question ...

Posted Jan. 29, 2015, 10 a.m. by Andrew Belasco | View Comments
college away from home

A recent study by Niche reveals that the majority of college-bound students (58 percent) choose schools within 100 miles of their home, while only 11 percent opt for an institution more than 500 miles away. In our increasingly mobile society, this finding is somewhat surprising, perhaps even discouraging. Although remaining close to home for college can seem the more comfortable and convenient option, there are significant benefits associated with casting a wider net. Most notably, a willingness to travel can lead to improved admissions prospects and better financial aid offers. Why? Because colleges crave geographic diversity. Download College Away from ...

Posted Jan. 22, 2015, 10 a.m. by Andrew Belasco | View Comments
estimating college costs

A few months ago, I noticed that my cable bill had crept up into uncharted territory. After calling the cable company and enduring twenty straight minutes of advertisements for Horrible Bosses 2, I eventually had the opportunity to express my concern that my monthly payment had increased $80 since last year and that I had, in that time, received a) no additional channels or services or b) no explanation for the hefty mark-up. Without hesitation the representative immediately told me about a new “limited time offer” where I would receive every premium channel AND pay roughly $100 less per month. ...

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